Loneliness and isolation are some of the unspoken blights of modern life. Many groups such as the elderly, parents with young children or people who are primary carers for infirmed members of their own family are crying out for opportunities to get out of the house and mix with other people for support or sometimes, just conversation. Importantly, without the need to spend money – especially if it is tight.
Back in 2016 Vale Rural Communities did a mapping exercise in Rhoose and one of their core findings was that the village lacked a hub or community space to meet this need. Specifically, somewhere which is open through the day where people can drop in, have a cuppa and a chat, but also with enough space for small groups to be able to utilise it for specific activities and meetings.
Since then, no other body has stepped up to actually fill this void so the local parish church of St Peter’s Rhoose did a survey of their own (asking over 100 people) and discovered that both amongst its own congregation and in the wider community, a lot of people felt that the village needed some kind of “community hub”. So, they decided to put together their own proposal and are delighted to have recently been granted planning permission to build a community hub on land it owns right in the heart of the village. Not as a church building, but as a project run by and run for the village community as a whole.
The building will also provide the village with another crucial resource which it has been missing for many years, as it will also have toilets, one of which will be wide enough for wheelchair access, which members of the public will be able to use.
There has already been a lot of interest and support for the project from local support groups who are crying out for a space like this including a mothers and toddlers group, a dementia café and a carers support group.
The proposal is for the hub to be run by a not-for-profit organisation along the lines of similar spaces in Cardiff. These have a policy to recruit people from the local community who might have difficulty finding a job elsewhere such as those with learning difficulties or people who have previously been homeless and that is something the Rhoose project would want to emulate.
“We are really excited about the project and are so pleased to have had all the permissions needed to go ahead” said Melanie Prince, Vicar of Porthkerry and Rhoose. “We will work closely with other groups in the community to make sure that those who need to use the space get access to it, and that it serves everyone as best it can. We are also working hard to make sure that we meet all our environmental obligations with the build. Even though we anticipate the majority of visitors to the Hub to be on foot we have included in our plans additional parking spaces so as not to burden nearby streets with more cars. We have also addressed concern raised about the removal of a tree from the site and will be planting a new one to maintain the aesthetic of the area”.
The hope is that the majority of the £250K-£300K estimated build costs will be met from grant applications but the committee behind the project knows that a great deal will still need to be gathered from fund raising activities and from donations from local benefactors. To date, they have already raised £17,000 which is an impressive start but there is still a long way to go, so please, hep us reach our gaol and make a real difference to our local community.